100,000 wafers per month won’t be enough
is seeing strong orders for 28nm chips, but punters are now questioning whether the foundry can ramp 28nm production in time to meet demand.
By the end of the year, TSMC should be churning out about 20,000 wafers and the figure is set to rise to about 100,000 after volume production starts in the first quarter of 2012.
However, the new process was already tapped by numerous companies for everything from GPUs to ARM based chips and even AMD APUs. Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, Xilinx and Altera are already on board and several major players, including Broadcom and STMicroelectronics are also interested. Let’s not forget that Apple could also be one of the major partners in the second half of 2012.
Of course, the catch is that there is simply not enough capacity to go around. TSMC plans to open a new 28nm plant in Q1 and until it does it is stuck with 20,000 wafers a month. This could prove to be a serious bottleneck over the next few months, so don’t hold your breath waiting for new 28nm graphics or phones based on next generation multicore chips.